Anatomy and Physiology

External Genitalia / Vulva / Pudendum

external genitalia

It is also known as vulva or pudendum which includes all externally visible parts in a female reproductive system consisting of the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and vestibule containing various glands with their opening. These are as follows-

  • Mons pubis– It is a subcutaneous adipose pad anterior to the symphysis pubis & is covered with hair follicles and contains sebaceous and sweat glands.
  • Labia majora– It is in the lateral aspect formed by skin and subcutaneous tissues with adipose fat where they join medially to form a posterior commissure in front of the anus. It is pigmented and covered with hair follicles that have sebaceous glands and sweat glands. This structure resembled the scrotum in the male reproductive system.
  • Labia minora- These are 2 small fold of skin without any fat pad or hair follicles, and lies within the labia majora. Anteriorly it divides to enclose the clitoris and unite to each other in front and behind to form prepuce and frenulum. At the lower end, it fuses together medially, to form a fold of skin known as a fourchette.
  • Clitoris- It is small erectile tissues consisting of nerve endings, situated anterior to the vulva. It consists of glans, body, and crura. This structure is similar to the male penis.
  • Vestibule- It is a triangular space bounded anteriorly by the clitoris posteriorly by the fourchette and on either side by labia minora. It Consists of various openings-

-urethral orifice (opening) is in the midline in front of the vaginal orifice.
-paraurethral ducts (Skene’s gland) open directly in the vestibule on either side of the urethral opening in the vestibule.
-Vaginal opening lies in the posterior end and is partially closed by a fold of mucosal membrane termed as hymen (circular to crescentic in shape).
-Two Ducts of Bartholin’s gland (greater vestibular gland) opens in between the hymen and labia minora. These glands lie at the posterior end of the vestibular bulb (bilateral elongated masses of erectile tissues beneath the mucous membrane of the vestibule).

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